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ANTAGONISM

To write you about the same thing is not burdensome for me, yet it is edifying for you."

How much resounds in these words! This "about the same thing'' alone evokes deep reflection. One is amazed at the adamantine firmness that produced this calm statement, whereas in other cases, on other lips, it would cause irritation. Precisely "not burdensome," because the writer of these words, wisely knowing various degrees of the spirit knew how difficult it is to turn the rudder into the right current of thought.

Among the many concepts subject to repetition, antagonism is known to all. Whoever shall prescribe and urge that antagonism not be cultivated will himself be within the ranks of the builders.

A justly founded indignation against the corrupting attempts of the dark forces is one thing, but an entirely different matter is an artificially created and light-mindedly nourished antagonism. The beginning of antagonism flows from a very small and shallow source. So often at its base there will be some tiny personal feeling, some tiny offense, or nonconformity in acquired habits. Usually the man himself does not notice precisely when this small viper penetrates into his Chalice. The course of antagonism is usually very lengthy. It is accumulated from all sorts of preceding thoughts and illusions. A man sometimes feels a small offense, and later on his own volition he begins like a madman to attach to this embryo a tiny tail, wings, paws, and horns  until there results a veritable small monster tenaciously living in his bosom.

Many times these self-made monsters have been described in popular literature. Nonetheless, almost all those who read about them never ascribe to themselves what is being depicted.

At first, speaking simply, something has been unpleasant. This something has probably taken place in the course of the daily routine; then this everyday matter is transferred into a far broader scope, and eventually, like a cancerous growth, it is established as a most dangerous aspect.

The man reaches such a point that, not realizing it in the least, he will not even be in any condition to meet with anyone or encounter anything. Gradually, through autosuggestion he convinces himself that precisely this small daily detail has always been for him the most essential condition of his life.

Each one has had occasion to encounter such woebegone, odd people who have heaped up around themselves impassable barriers of illusory rubbish. Each one can call to mind people who insist that their organism cannot take in this or that food. At the same time, when they have been given precisely this same food under another name, their organism has received it quite well, without any bad consequences. This means that originally an aversion was created, which through autosuggestion reached monstrous obsessive proportions.

From any worldly domain it is possible to enumerate a great number of similar examples. A man believes himself unable to walk along the rim of an abyss, but pursued by a wild animal he rushes over a still more dangerous place without even noticing. No doubt everyone has in store many like examples.

Nonetheless, the question of self-induced antagonism, remains one of the most unwholesome problems in life. Sometimes people try to explain such antagonism toward something either by innate light-mindedness, or by indulgence, absence of discipline, or simply by age. All these explanations do not make it easier, because the monsters of antagonism will plague their creator just the same, and do harm to his surroundings as well. From daily, private life they scatter their poison throughout society and they have a blighting effect upon fundamental state and world problems.

No doubt each one has sometimes had occasion to ask his friends about the cause of their aversion to something. It is likewise probable that many of those questioned believed that this was simply an irresistible innate feeling. Yet in reality in all cases it was obvious that somewhere, somehow, a kind of habit had been formed, and then some circumstance had simply failed to conform to this habit. Sometimes a dish proved too salty or an expected flower did not bloom on a designated date. Even such trifles can gradually be spun together into an entire idiosyncrasy.

One should cure oneself of such cumulated aversions just as one should of the germ of madness.

Many times life itself shows that precisely that circumstance which was apparently an object of irresistible aversion suddenly becomes a most useful one, and that place which appeared emptiest proves to be the richest. Then very shamefacedly the man has to rid himself of all his untimely conclusions. Many times he inwardly regrets that he allowed the self-made monsters to take possession of him to such an extent.

Since antagonism is unjust, so also is partiality. The man who surrounds himself with worthless favorite phantoms deserves the same pity as he who engenders antagonism within himself. Of course the creator of partiality must sooner or later acknowledge his inconsistency with great shame. And of course in people who do not think deeply this shame will produce irritation and will create new harmfulness. Indeed, both self-made antagonism and irrational partiality are equally shameful, because they both have to be outlived. Walking in shackles is very burdensome. It is just as burdensome as any other violation of true justice.

In Roman law the distinction between canon law and civil law is studied. The process of one being engendered from the other is very complicated. One is amazed at those profound minds which have penetrated these subtleties of the formation of human relationships. If we have before us all the various examples of sound judgment and of a desire for the most just solutions, then, too, in everyday usage this must impel us toward a very consciously careful attitude regarding our conduct.

"A word is like a sparrow; it flies out, not to be caught again." Thus does the popular wisdom forewarn. Indeed, here is assumed not only the outwardly sounding word, but also the significance of the thought which gave birth to it. If each thought produces some sort of zigzag in space, then this hieroglyph will remain somewhere, and will always remind us first of all about how deplorable it is to litter space with ill-considered hieroglyphs. For each one of them we are responsible and will have to reply through the megaphone of space.

"From the fall of a rose petal, worlds tremble." The radio whines monotonously, and something is inexorably piercing space. What is this? Partiality? Antagonism? Let us hope that there is being created one more spatial hieroglyph of justice.

Tzagan Kure

May 1, 1935

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